Mirage

Fandom: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Pairing: Napoleon Solo/Illya Kuryakin

Category:
gen

Rating:
G

Word Count:
1849

Summary: Just a moment in a mission.

Table/Prompt: Inspired By Poetry Table Prompt: Mirage

He waited until the last laughing agent had exited the locker room and then quietly shut the door on his shaving things and extra shirt and tie. He sat down on the bench and rolled his shoulders, then let his head fall forward to stretch the sore muscles there. The redeye flight had arrived late due to thunderstorms and turbulence and just plain rotten foulness. Where exactly was that vaunted luck he heard so much about? Of course, his luck was not all he overheard his fellow agents talking about, and if any of it had been said with anything other than a good natured grin, he might have taken exception. This morning he was too damn tired to care. Back to back missions in three difficult to reach corners of the globe made for a very long month, and it wasn‘t likely to ease up. He glanced at his watch, not quite enough time for breakfast in the canteen, he’d have to hope Mr. Waverly was kind enough to be serving coffee in the meeting this morning.

~~~

Standing in the back of the elevator, he could hear the whispers. Of course, if they had known he was there, they would have remained silent. It was mostly speculation, where is he really from, did you hear about the records broken on the Island, what was Waverly thinking, these and other questions were usually answered only slightly incorrectly. He felt no desire to speak up and inform them of the true answers, so he remained against the back wall, slouching and deceptively relaxed. If anyone noticed his expression, they attributed it to jet lag and went on their way none the wiser. He was adept by now at appearing not to hear or care about comments that might be less than flattering, after all, a stiff upper lip and charge ahead attitude was not solely the province of his London colleagues. No, the ability to affect a blank expression and indifferent attitude could serve anyone well, especially if they grew up in the environment of suspicion and paranoia that he had.

~~~

Two men met at the junction of the corridors outside the conference room of Section One, both turning toward the closed silver metal door, the secretary seated outside smiling as she watched them approach. The two men walked as if they were synchronized in a military unit, though she knew for a fact that they had never met. She marveled at the way training stuck, no matter which branch of what armed forces they came from, for most of the agents she saw arrive and leave this hallway had some background in a fighting force before joining this one. “They’re almost ready, go on in,” she continued to smile, pressing a button on the desk to allow them access to the secured room behind her.

There were a dozen or more agents milling in the room beyond, most of them turning to see the new arrivals, as did the older man standing by the only window in the room, indeed in the entire building. He touched a button on the sill that slid blast shutters closed on the window before addressing the newcomers. “Mr. Solo, you are right on time, your flight was supposed to be late.”

“It was, but the taxi driver had a voodoo doll on his dash dressed in a state trooper uniform and stuck through with pins; we made very good time from the airfield,” his smile was so smooth that it was difficult to tell if he was kidding or not, likely most of the men in the room thought he wasn’t.

“And your passport is now in order, Mr. Kuryakin.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Then we are ready, if you will all take a seat, and pass that coffee around if you please.”

And so the meeting began.

Much like children playing musical chairs, the gathered agents sat in whatever chair was nearest them, leaving the last two empty chairs those directly across from Mr. Waverly. Solo and Kuryakin sat in them, accepted the coffee as it was passed around and settled down to listen to Section One Number One as he explained their objectives. The agents gathered were the best of their sections and would be on loan from their respective headquarters to New York for the duration of the very large operation against a new THRUSH plot.

~~~

“Mr. Solo has spent the last month gathering the information we needed to put this plan into motion, he will be coordinating your assignments,” Waverly was wrapping up the meeting, “this afternoon he will be meeting with each of you to go over the plans for your team. Please see my secretary on your way out for your appointment. Now I believe it is well past time for lunch, gentlemen.” He ended the meeting and waved the agents on their way, calling for Solo and Kuryakin to wait.

The dismissed agents eyed the pair as they filed out the door behind them, speculation in some eyes, simple curiosity in others. A few of the agents who knew Napoleon smiled or offered a ’see you later’ and the men who had arrived from London with Kuryakin nodded to him.

When the room was finally empty of all but the three of them, Alexander Waverly sat again, waving for his agents to do the same. The silver door slid shut with a hiss and it was very quiet for a moment.

Waverly pulled a pipe and pouch of tobacco from his pocket, started to fill the bowl of the briar and then looked up as if he had forgotten that he had asked the men to wait. “My apologies, gentlemen, this is an introduction that I had hoped would have been made before now, but schedules being what they are and THRUSH never keeping to an itinerary that we might find convenient, well, here we are.” He tamped the tobacco and then struck a match, drawing the flame into the packed tobacco and releasing the aromatic smoke. “Mr. Kuryakin,” he gestured with the pipe, “this is Napoleon Solo, Section Two Number One, my chief enforcement agent here in New York. Mr. Solo, this is Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin. He is the Soviet’s contribution to the U.N.C.L.E. staff, and he is newly transferred to New York from London. There were some, ah, difficulties with his transfer papers, or he would have been here six weeks ago,” Waverly paused to drag on the pipe, then continued, “he will be doing a lot of work in our labs after this particular affair is done with, but for now, I hope you will find him some space in the locker rooms and an office down in the lab level. After lunch, of course, and your meetings with our borrowed agents. We have a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.”

“Don’t we always, sir?’

“Hmm, oh, yes indeed, Mr. Solo. Off you go then, have a good lunch.”

~~~

“This is a bit of a fix you’ve managed to get yourself into, Solo.”

“All in the service of right and good. How about springing me so I can continue to serve those high ideals?”

“I’m trying, but they’ve wired you up to the ignition rockets, the wrong snip of one of those wires and the launch will go as planned, if a little early.”

“Just my luck then, to have you as my backup. I hope that extra instruction you taught on the Island included unwiring explosives as well as wiring them.”

“My instruction at Survival School, both given and received, was entirely about making explosions do just what I want them to do and only what I want.”

There was tense silence for many long moments, punctuated by the quiet snick of wire cutters and a distant countdown over a loudspeaker.

“Done.” Illya quickly untied the rest of the bindings keeping Napoleon in place.

“Are the rest of our agents out of range?”

“Yes, and the THRUSH as well, in custody and secured.” Illya pulled blocks of gummy grey explosives from a backpack and started to shape them around the mechanisms that he had just pulled his fellow agent away from. “As soon as this blows itself into history, we are in position to take out the command center. They will be in disarray during the failed launch and we can make a clean sweep of them.”

“Just the way we planned.”

“But you didn’t plan to get yourself tied to the rocket.”

“No, that wasn’t really how I had planned to leave the Earth, not at all.”

“Sorry you won’t get to be the first U.N.C.L.E. in space then.”

“That’s quite alright, Kuryakin, I think I’d like to keep my flights limited to in-atmosphere and on commercial jets, for the time being,” Napoleon grinned, “and maybe the occasional private jet.”

Illya turned from attaching the detonators, “We have about five minutes to get out of blast range, can you do it?”

“Oh, yes, lead on.”

They ran.

~~~

“Gentlemen, your report is a little hazy on specifics of why the ship disintegrated so spectacularly.”

“If I may?” Illya looked at Napoleon before explaining. Napoleon nodded and he continued, “THRUSH hadn’t been planning an Earth orbiting rocket ship, they were planning a Moon landing, they had a plan to control the tides by altering the orbit of the moon and so the ship had rather more power than we were aware of going into the situation.”

Waverly turned to Solo who nodded and picked up the explanation, “It seems that the whole of THRUSH wasn’t even aware of the plan, so our ordnance in addition to the extra fuel planned for a Moonshot, well, it did make a very pretty fireworks show.”

“Mr. Kuryakin, I’m afraid you may have put yourself at the top of THRUSH’s most wanted list of U.N.C.L.E. agents they want disposed of, you may have to spend more time in our labs for a few months, we’d hate to lose you.”

“That is quite alright, Mr. Waverly, it will take a while for the leg to heal.”

“Very well, you both have some medical leave to get to, I believe?”

“Yes sir.”

“Of course, sir.”

The door slid open and the two men limped out into the corridor, matching crutches and casts in tow.

“So, how about some dinner,” Napoleon said, “seems like if we are going to run around the world saving one another’s lives, we should have a meal together at least.”

“I’d like that, Napoleon, but you’d better let me drive.”

“Now, Illya, that last wreck wasn’t my fault, I was trying to outrun that roman candle you made.”

They moved off down the hall and Alexander smiled as he filled his pipe, musing on the chances of his best and most headstrong agents getting along. If he planned this right, and he thought he had, then he would no longer need to worry that his lone wolves would be without a pack to back them up.

 

~~~

MIRAGE (excerpt) by Amy Lowell

A thousand misconceptions may prevent
Our souls from coming near enough to blend;
Let me but think we have the same intent,
That each one needs to call the other, “friend!”

 

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